ISRAEL: 70 YEARS OF DESIGN & CRAFT at MINGEI INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM

The Mingei International Museum has long been one of my favorite arts institutions in San Diego because of it's unique curatorial intent: to bridge folk art and craft of the world to modern art and design. My own family keeps the Ukrainian folk tradition of wax-resist painting on eggs, Psanky. For many years I flew back to the East Coast to learn the symbols and geometries to paint these magical story-telling eggs with my cousins, aunt, great-aunts and grandmother. There is something precious in these traditions, and every day I relate my work in food and desserts back to this detailed and focused craft.  

The current exhibition, ISRAEL: 70 YEARS OF DESIGN & CRAFT is stunning. The textile, metal, glass, industrial design, and furniture work presented are no less than breathtaking. With due respect to this incredible exhibition, I wanted to present dishes inspired by the five books of Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi, which I've studied from for many years. I also wanted to create a display rich with color, texture, and layers for the senses. We eventually settled on a menu of traditional spreads, prepared vegetables, grilled flatbreads, and colorful spices imported from the region. The menu was earthy, smoky, citrusy, bright, and distinctly Mediterranean. 

COMPOSED PLATE: SQUASH & KOFTAH| Honey Roasted & Fire Finished Winter Squash, with Black Sesame Tahini & Harissa, Lamb Meatball, Herb Salad. 

FLATBREADS FOR A CROWD| House-Leavened & Fire Finished Flatbreads, Brushed with Single Origin Olive Oil and Seasoned with Za'atar Imported from Israel.

LEBNEH & OLIVES| Tangy Arabic Yogurt Dip with Toasted, Aromatic Spices, Cured Olives, and Olive Oil.

CHARRED EGGPLANT| Our Smoky, Silky Eggplant Dip made from Chef Yottam Ottolenghi's own method of charring eggplant in the traditional way. Meyer Lemon, Pomegranate Seeds, & Fresh Herbs.

TWO HUMMUS: CHICKPEA HUMMUS & GREMOLATA| with Fresh Tomato, Cucumber, Crispy Fried Shallots & Garlic Chips, Toasted Spices and Fresh Herbs.
RUSTIC CANNELLINI BEAN AND CONFIT GARLIC HUMMUS| With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.

HONEYED CARROT BOARD| Sweet Roasted Baby Carrots, with Aleppo Pepper, Lime Yogurt, and Herbs. 

SPICED CAULIFLOWER COUSCOUS| With Almonds, Raisins, Pomegranate Seeds & Fresh Herbs

FRESH ORANGES, SMOKED ALMONDS, DRIED FIGS

Special thanks to Barbara Smith for capturing images, Josh Pavlick of Helmuth Projects for table-top gallery pedestals, and Lera Boroditsky for loaning plates and objects from her collection.  

Perriann & Daniel in Pioneertown California

So happy to share images of this beauty show of a wedding we catered for friends in Joshua Tree, California. As a human, it was an honor to witness this family celebrating the commitment of @perrinizzle and @daniel.sebastian to each other. As an artist, I was thinking how could you possibly fit more creativity and love-work into one party? Otherworldly florals by @blacklotusdesign , absolute perfection by @dawn_photo, cocktails by @snakeoilcocktail , and I had the opportunity to build the color palette of the food to set well in the landscape and the earthy and gorgeous ceramics made by the bride herself @perriannhodges . All in the iT House by Taalman Koch Architects, in one of my favorite natural locations in the world. Congrats to Perriann & Daniel! See the house: https://abnb.me/EVmg/2yVu6Z2riH On-site professor of neuroscience in case of emergencies and surprise power outages: @leraboroditsky ðŸ˜‚ Thanks @specialtyproduce for everything under the sun.

A Real Winter Wonderland

The holidays bring about my favorite catering projects each year. I love the big meals and the detail in every garnish, pastry, and sparkling chocolate. Imagining elaborate presentations for my clients allows me connect deeply to the season, and then share my feelings through my work. I draw on memories of my grandparents' incredible decorations and lavish parties, seeing the illustrious and imaginative Saks Fifth Avenue holiday window displays in Manhattan, the tree at Rockefeller Center, the Yule Log burn and the 50 state trees in Washington DC, and countless performances of the Nutcracker. Each party feels like wrapping a gift, and watching the receiver open it with wonder and delight. 

Here are some of my favorite images from December, 2017. May the New Year bring you love, community, success, travel, and expansive new experiences! 

Natuzzi Italia Launch at Hold it Contemporary Home

Each year at the San Diego Architectural Foundation's Orchids and Onions Celebration, Mike at Hold It Contemporary Home takes the year's selected backdrop like an outdoor downtown courtyard, or the SDMA's sculpture garden under its stunning midcentury arches and Malcolm Leland gates, and creates elegant, inviting arrangements of modern furniture from his studio's collection. So, things could only get better, by going to the source. Home Kitchen Culture was delighted to provide highly crafted hors d'oeuvres and desserts for Mike's launch of a gorgeous line of designer furniture: Natuzzi Italia. Special thanks to the inimitable Snake Oil Cocktail Company for the luscious cocktails and for charming everyone, including me!

Special thanks to the incredible Barbara Smith for snapping up the whole thing into pictures. 

To San Diego Symphony, with Love

If you know me personally and you run into me anywhere between September and May, you'll know that I talk about the symphony all the time. HKC is honored to have partnered with Snake Oil Cocktail Company to provide catering services for such an important cultural institution for three years running. But beyond that, the people, music, and vibrant energy of Copley Symphony Hall have become such a rich part of my life. Because my family brought their musical heritage with them from Eastern Europe, many of my cousins on the East Coast were classically trained and have professional music careers. Music of all genres was always important in our homes.

I love the moment after a long week when I tuck into my seat in the dark hall and give over two hours to a completely different space- an emotional and intellectual language from another time that's just as articulate and relevant now as when it was written. I always hope my enthusiasm will spill into the community and more friends will join me there and find their own relationship to the programming. Here are some photos of the magical hall...